Maya Angelou’s definition of success
Maya Angelou defines success this way – Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it. Note that her definition doesn’t include wealth or power!
In recent months, I’ve had more freelance editing work than I’ve had in the past sixteen and a half years since I left my full-time publishing job to look after my first baby. (That baby is now six foot two!)
I was ready to leave – I’d finished some interesting projects and would have been ready to work somewhere else had I not been pregnant.
I hung on to my freelance editing skills by my fingertips while I looked after three small kids, with a hands-on but often work-travelling husband. Sometimes I’d get up at 5am to do two hours before the kids woke up. In the afternoons, I’d put the baby to sleep and let the toddler watch a movie, while the oldest was at kinder or school so I could work for two hours in the afternoon. There were huge periods of time when I didn’t have a project and wanted one.
But now, probably thanks to COVID-19 where more people have time to write books, I’ve had a lot of editing work. And my projects are so interesting! I love reading so many varied stories and working with an array of talented writers, as well as the wonderful team at Publish Central. This year alone I’ve edited a book written by a mystic, a book on raising resilient children (many notes to self!), a children’s novel/self-help guide and a book on wellbeing among other projects. Now I’m deep in a book about self-fidelity at work, which has me thinking about myself back at work sixteen years ago and my working self now.
I’m not sure that I liked myself all that much, back at work in the late 90s, early 2000s. I liked the work I did but I didn’t like how I did it, giving up too many weekends to meet deadlines, being around managers and co-workers with different values to me.
But now, as a freelance editor, I love working from home. I’m set up in my home office, surrounded by books, plants, cards from friends, seen in the photo above. Thanks to my lovely friend M for the beautiful flowers which have kept me company all week!
Pre-COVID days, I could attend a school assembly or take a round of kids to basketball training without having to account for my absence. And now I can cook up a quick omelette or salad for lunch, take a walk, do some yoga stretches, chat with the kids in their breaks. Often I start our dinner in the slow cooker after lunch.
I think I’ve now achieved Maya’s trifecta of liking.